COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – According to the Columbus Division of Police, roughly 6,000 vehicles have been stolen in the Capital City this year, with nearly 40% of them being Kias or Hyundais.
Law enforcement and dealerships said a security flaw in certain models of those vehicles is being exploited on social media, making them attractive targets to thieves.
Does this flaw also have an effect on owners who want to trade those models in for a new or different vehicle?
In a recent report from NBC4, thefts of Kias and Hyundais are happening regularly in central Ohio.
The thieves set their sights on the two brands because of the way they’re built, according to Ricart Automotive.
“The 2011 and newer Kias and 2015 and newer Hyundais that are built without push-button start,” said Rick Ricart. “So, if it requires a key to turn the ignition, it’s a simple, under the steering column, literally a USB port could even be pushed in and twisted to start the car.”
That technique is being posted and shared on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, contributing to the thefts.
But does it also have an effect on the trade-in values of those vehicles?
“We looked both nationally and locally in the Columbus area and we didn’t see any impact on new or used vehicle prices for Hyundais and Kias,” said Karl Brauer, executive analyst with iSeeCars.com.
Bauer said there are a couple of reasons for that.
“First, it’s not good to have cars being stolen, but the relative percentage of the total cars that are out there versus the ones being stolen is still, I’m sure, very small,” he said.
And second, cars, both new and used, are in such high demand right now.
“There are people out there who are just so interested in getting another car, whether it’s a new car or a new-to-them car,” Brauer said. “That if they can find one available, they’ll buy it. Even something like these kinds of concerns is going to have minimal effect if they really need a car.”
Still, Bauer said both current and future car owners should be thoughtful of countermeasures available to deter thieves, such as parking in a garage if possible or using an immobilizer.
“Probably a relatively small investment of anywhere from $50 to a couple hundred dollars would make it so your car is secure and hard to steal,” he said.
In July, NBC4 reached out to both Hyundai and Kia about the issues.
Hyundai responded, saying, in part:
“These vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and engine immobilizers are standard equipment on all new Hyundai vehicles.”
“All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change.”
For more ways to protect your vehicle, click here.